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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/drkameleon

I finally decided to take the Cervantes Placement Test. ¡Vamos!

OK, first off, let me thank DuoLingo for the inspiration and the genius behind it - I'm a programmer myself, so I can fully appreciate Mr. Von Ahn's vision.

I've been in... love with languages since I was a little kid, I'm currently a certified instructor of 2 of them, and I've "played" with dozens of them, one way or the other. However, Spanish, until recently was not of them. (Perhaps because I never thought of it as challenging enough? I don't know...)

However, given that I'm planning to move to Spain in the next few months, it struck me that it was time to finally start learning Spanish. So, it was 3-4 months ago, when a friend of mine suggested that I tried DuoLingo. The timing was perfect. So, why not start my spanish... conquest with that?, I thought. To be honest, having tried various such teaching tools (e.g. Rosetta stone), I was afraid that it might ruin the learning process for me. You see, after so many languages, I believe I have a learning... style of my own.

However, DuoLingo - with its fun and game-like approach - proved to be perfect!

Of course, it was not just DuoLingo, though. After completing my tree (and keeping it golden), I decided to get my hands on anything I could:

  • grammar books & dictionaries
  • videos
  • documentaries
  • movies
  • novels
  • speaking with others on Verbling
  • switching all my devices (phones, computer workstation, etc) to Spanish

Anything!

However, it still all started with DuoLingo...

The result?

Around 4 months, after starting from point ZERO, and with constant everyday exposure to the language (and feeling rather confident with it, at last), I decided to take the Placement Test by Instituto Cervantes (http://ave.cervantes.es/prueba_nivel/registro/test_de_clasificacion.php?origen=webAVE).

And finally, here are my results (for which, I can't even say how happy I am :-) ):

results.

So, my message is :

Don't ever give up! With enough commitment, and love for what you're doing, you can actually achieve wonders!!!

¡Buena suerte a todos nosotros!


P.S.

(1) And no, I'm not planning on taking the C1 test. If I ever decide to take any Spanish examination - as ambitious as it may seem - it will be the C2. Aim high, guys! ;-)

(2) Thanks for the Lingot, guys. However, the point of the post was just to share my experience and not get any lingots. I already have more than enough of them, I almost don't know how to "cash" them out. lol - so, here's the idea: to anyone who commented/s, I am the one to be giving some lingots, so that I am able to help - if at all - your learning efforts.

August 15, 2014

54 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SD-77

Holy cow! C1 after four months!

August 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ALoUSyUseRnaME

Wow... I'm speechless, read your other comments, C2 in English a French (with your native language Greek)??!!??!! Wow... I can't believe that, that's just incredible.

You're an inspiration, for people like me, who kind of aren't good with languages. I've been studying Spanish for over a year and I have a feeling that I'm barely an A1, I'm just that type of person...

I have a question, do you have any recommendations for videos or documentaries that I can improve my listening skills with?

Anyways, once again, you're an inspiration :)

August 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/drkameleon

First of all, thanks a lot for your kind words - I do appreciate it!

As for documentaries, being an avid documentary watcher myself (it wouldn't make much sense to start watching something I wouldn't normally watch, all of a sudden, would it?) what I mostly do is simply fire up youtube and search for "documental" (or "documental biography channel", "history channel", or any similar variation - you get my point). There are literally LOADS of documentaries, either originally in spanish or dubbed + series, and even more.

Now, if you are looking for something simpler, as many users here have posted before, "extr@" is a great series aimed towards people learning the language, so expect a somewhat slower pace, more limited vocabulary, etc.

Last but not least: I do not believe in "that type of person" - or the other... lol. Just keep it up, and sooner or later, you' ll end up... impressing yourself! ;-)

August 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ALoUSyUseRnaME

For my kind words, you truly deserve them, you don't have to thank me :)

Thanks for suggestions, I'll make sure to check those out. As for extr@, I've watched the entire series and I ran out of things to watch ;) I figured out there's also a French, English, and German version of the series, so I started the watch the French version.

As for "that type of person", I think I've impressed myself already, I got higher than an A1 in Spanish, lol, I got a B1!

August 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/drkameleon

Well, to be honest, at the end of the day, all those Α1/Β1/C1/C2 don't mean much to me. They are just an indication (rather an approximation) of what your level is. Most (young) people in Greece have at least a B2 in English, but when it comes to actually speaking it, they are afraid to utter a single word. Sad but true. At times, it looks as if it's only another "dot" in their... curriculums.

Trust me: I'd rather retain the same level of English/French/whatever and have no certificate whatsoever, than have a pile of language diplomas and not being able to actually enjoy speaking any of them. :-)

August 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ALoUSyUseRnaME

You make a very good point there, certificates don't always mean anything, it's the skill that counts :)

I actually think those tests are actually really off. I took an English test, and I was a C2, then I took it again, landing on a B1, took it again, and landed on a C1...

August 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Yoel.

Congratulations! However for your own benefit you should realize that the listening and reading were only four multiple-choice questions each. The grammar was 60 questions but many of them at a very basic level. So the precision of this placement test is questionable. But you should be proud of your work up to now with or without this result.

August 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/drkameleon

Well, I do get your point. And of course, you simply cannot have a complete assessement through a couple of texts with 4-5 multiple choice questions each. Even so, to be honest, I found it was one of the most complete - as much as any such test could be - I've ever come across. That's why I thought of sharing it.

P.S. And no, I don't care that much about levels and so on, although they are a slight indication of what you've achieved. And that - along with the pleasure of actually being able to speak and understand the language - feels great! :-)

August 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarlinFan

Great inspiration! I like the idea of pushing it to the upper limits (though you have set the bar pretty high!). Languages not used and expanded become languages we forget.

August 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/drkameleon

Exactly!

August 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/evxndxr

I hope to be this good one day. My biggest problem in learning languages is trying to get the accent; it makes it more difficult to converse with native speakers. But I'm lucky to live in an area with a lot of Spanish speakers. I'm just going to keep practicing and hopefully get to the point that you are at one day. :)

August 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/drkameleon

I know what you mean. However, my trick with the accent (and I've managed it very well - even, e.g. with French) is to :

  • watch/listen to material in the language (so, that you actually "get" the accent)
  • listen to yourself, e.g. read a book aloud, and try getting it as close to the "original" as possible.

It may sound weird, but it has always worked for me.

Now, as for Spanish, that's a different case altogether: Believe it or not, being myself Greek, I have a huge advantage. The sounds of the two languages are almost identical. And the overall feeling of the languages, as well. So, in a few words, for all Greeks, it's really easy to sound like Spanish (and, I guess, vice-versa). Trust me, even Spaniards may easily mistake me for a native speaker... lol!

August 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/evxndxr

Thanks for the advise! I've been watching Spanish language television and listening to music. I'm sure it will come with time. You're lucky your accent is so convincing. Lol!

August 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/drkameleon

Well, I admit I am a bit lucky. And the Spanish people are lucky too, in case they decide to pick up Greek - although I guess they most likely won't. So, they'll never discover it. lol.

Good luck! ;-)

August 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/drkameleon

As a funny sidenote (almost every Greek knows about this):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjCp5HV0DpE

Here's Javier Bardem - the actor - speaking Greek, at the end of the video. Trust me, for someone who I assume does not actually speak Greek, this sounds too good (and clear) for a first try.

August 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sie00

Awesome. Thanks for letting me know of this test :P

August 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/anebz

That's great! I'd like to have that level in German, someday. A C2 examination? Aim high sure, but C2 people are supposed to understand everything they read and listen, and explain themselves in any area. As a Spaniard, I have to say that the majority of Spanish people don't have that level. Maybe it's because people here don't read much, but I do, I read a damn lot and I'm not sure I have C2 level. Anyway, when/if you take the C2 test and you pass it, that'll be tremendously meritorious and admirable! It's already meritorious and admirable having a C1 level, but C2... C2 is knowing better Spanish than Spanish people. So, aim high and congrats for what you've alredy achieved! :)

August 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/drkameleon

Hahaha, I'm sure you exaggerate a bit! I do read (and write) a lot. And most Greek people don't. (That's most definitely not a regional thing, at all). But I still believe like 99% of them would pass the equivalent of a C2 test. Those tests are for foreigners, and even though you (myself included) might not realize it, your level in your mother tongue is far superior.

As for C2, I already have one in English and French. As for what it "means", let me put it this way (I'll leave English out of the discussion, since I feel as if I've been so brain-washed that it's almost like my mother tongue - most of the days I end up speaking more... English than Greek) :

Last year, I was in France. I could easily pick up any conversation, at academic level, about - let's say Proust lol - but when I went to fill up the gas tank, I had trouble expressing it. Ah, and I have a C2 DALF, meaning I'm certified to teach the language. :p

I guess you get my point... lol

Thanks a lot for the support!

August 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/anebz

damn, if you have that level in two languages that aren't your mother tongue (even if sometimes it feels like it), you definetly can have it in Spanish. you're like a 'language god'! so go get it! :)

August 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/drkameleon

Hahaha.

I'm just someone who - for some reason that I haven't figured out yet - loves learning languages, the mechanics behind them, the inner logic, the etymologies of words/roots, all of it! And it just happens that it's also useful! ;-)

August 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/anebz

it sure is! you must have one hell of a curriculum!

August 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/drkameleon

It depends on your point of view. As weird as it may seem, most people in Greece do speak at least one-or-two foreign languages. But in an almost "forced" way. It's as if it is "à la mode". lol

August 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/djr8369

Thanks for your story and inspiration! Thought I had a lot of exposure but maybe I need to up my game...

August 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/drkameleon

The more you're exposed (hear, speak, read, write), the faster you'll become fluent. That's how we all learned our mother tongue in the first place, anyway! ;-)

August 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fraserbooks

Congratulations. You have done really well teaching yourself. I hope you enjoy living in Spain. My son lived there for a few months and found this site useful. http://www.notesinspanish.com/

It is run by an English man who married a Spaniard and now lives in Madrid. My son has moved back to London now but shares a flat with a Spanish girl and they watch box sets of Spanish T.V. dramas. The hardest thing he found was answering his mobile phone on the metro in Barcelona because of the background noise.

August 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/drkameleon

Thanks a lot!

As for picking up the phone in a crowded/noisy place, that may be difficult at times, even when speaking your mother tongue, nope? :-)

August 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/inayad

hellos, soy cubana, y me se muy bien el espanol, te felicito por haberlo logardo, yo mediante duolingo estoy aprendiendo el ingles. buena suerte, continua adelante.

August 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/drkameleon

¡Muchas gracias! ¡Suerte con el inglés!

August 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kriskross4

Nicely done!

August 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dramirezag

Hello I am a native spanish speaker, However I am curious about the cervantes placement test, because I took an spanish free online test, and I notice that It has a big tendency to use the spanish from Spain, being Colombian some expressions, words and time frames (vosotros, and the endings ois and stuff like that, I am not a teacher so I don't know how that time or grammar point is this) are difficult for me because I am not use to them, I really don´t know if the cervantes test take account of all the different dialects of spanish or only focus in the spanish from spain. As a native speaker I only make 3 mistakes of 60 questions however I had a hard time answering some questions, maybe a person from spain get better results.

August 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/drkameleon

Hmmm... I know what you mean. Is there such a big difference between Castellano and Spanish in Latin America? (Aside from the vos/vosotros/usted/ustedes thing, accent and several expressions/words I mean)

As for the orientation, I thought the Instituto Cervantes was "sponsored" by the Real Academia Española which - correct me if I'm wrong - is actually a collaborative effort of the academies of all Spanish-speaking countries, nope?

In any case, I'm mostly interested in Castellano, so that would not be a problem for me at all... :-)


P.S. I'm not 100% sure the set of questions is fixed. However, what I considered the most difficult part of all was the listening test, a radio interview (not even slighlty clear, in the first place) with the person being interviewed speaking at lightning-fast speed. (And imagine I consider my listening skills in Spanish very strong! lol)

August 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dramirezag

hello well, I think is almost similar between the english from USA and from England, I can understand the majority of the dialogs and movies from Spain, Some words are strange for me because I am not use to them but by the context I can imagine what they mean, well is the same with the spanish from mexico, they use some words that are unknown for me, however the core is the same, I am not sure of what you said because I am not a spanish teacher and I haven't investigated that matter. Well about listening I read that spanish is the second most fast language only behind japanese, and if the dialogs are from spain I think they speak faster than Colombians, I can understand what you mean, some dialects are difficult to understand. I read that the Colombian dialect is among the easiests to understand

August 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Archie28

That's great, man! I love Spanish as well and I would like to take that test.

August 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dodgegirl4ever

congratulatons!! very excited and happy for you!!

August 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Indigoes

Thanks for sharing this experience with us. I feel re-inspired by what you have accomplished. Please continue with this steadfast mindset in all tasks life sets before you.

I will definitely make sure to set the bar high for myself!

August 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/joe.jo

Good for you, I love to see DuoLingo grow and help people to advance their language learning. I hope to be proficient in Portuguese one day, as well as possibly Spanish, which I take in school. I hope to be able to speak Portuguese fluently one day, and it's great because it seems half of my town speaks Portuguese. Well although I'm not very far, I have confidence that Duolingo can put me on track to where you are. Great story, and if you have any Portuguese tips, I could use the help thanks!

August 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ganjing2277

Congratulations! that's so cool!

August 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/walejandromt

do you have test spanish?

August 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/drkameleon

If this is what you mean, then this one is the test I've taken : http://ave.cervantes.es/prueba_nivel/registro/test_de_clasificacion.php?origen=webAVE

August 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/walejandromt

thanks, you is profesional ;)

August 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/drkameleon

¡De nada! Pero, el examen es para los que aprenden español... :-)

August 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/walejandromt

estoy buscando un compañero para practicar mi ingles y yo comparto mi español, skype o whatsapp? que dices? te animas :) soy nativo

August 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/goopach

thank you very much for sharing..... I will keep on trucking.... maybe someday I can have a post like this. I hope you enjoy living in Spain

August 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kennynica

Thank you for your inspiring post. Please help me to understand the rating you got. What are the levels? Or tell me where I can find them on the net. Kenny

August 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/drkameleon

Well, they are nothing but a somewhat-universally accepted rating system for language diplomas/progress/etc. Have a look at the wiki article, I think it's very... informative :-)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_European_Framework_of_Reference_for_Languages

August 18, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kennynica

After reading the complete wiki article I have a better understanding of your remarkable accomplishment. Bravo!

August 18, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ThatOneKidJosh

Wow. A great inspiration, I hope to be good as you one day as an American-Korean!

August 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/abe.raise

Great read!!

August 18, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Limbinda

Congratulations from the bottom of the ladder. I'll work my way up one day.

August 18, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NumLockJ

T.T,I still can't say r or rr. :-( Any good suggestions?

August 18, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/seanbastard

how much time did you put in on duo per day? I find im nuked after work

August 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CarlaCarva16

Congratulations! I also did the test, but to be a teacher. I made this online course http://www.aprendum.com.br/curso-professor-de-espanhol/ and prepared. It is best for everyone who wants to teach Spanish.

January 22, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/compicej

What a nice post. So inspiring! :)

September 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PERCE_NEIGE

I would love to know what you are planning now.

You motivate me a lot.

February 9, 2017
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